From the perspective of early childhood education, I definitely know the value of letting children play with real versions of something, not always the miniature version created for their hands and minds. Sometimes, they need to hold the real deal in their hands.
So, when the boys need a little variety in their day, I set them up to play with my kitchen utensils. They love the wooden spoons, the mixing bowls, the measuring cups, the turkey baster, and especially the spaghetti ladle. All favorites that are very suitable to good pretending.
Today, I got wrapped up in a phone call... and when I hung up, I found Tucker playing outside, in the mulch (which is largely manure, remember), stirring dirt in my mixing bowl, sifting it with the wooden spoon and the spaghetti ladle.
Those are so much not outside toys. I am happy to share - in the kitchen.
I am contemplating a color coding system in the house, with various colors signifying who can play with what and where. If only I had the time or desire for such organization, I'm sure my home would be a different place... and probably not a very fun place to live.
The kitchen stuff is in the dishwasher. And I have learned to lock the door before I turn over the contents of my cupboards to little hands.